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Domaine de l'Ecu
France - Loire Valley

Ahead of its time, Le Domaine de l'écu has been certified as an organic agriculturist since 1975 and certified Biodynamic since 1988 (Demeter). They believe that a great wine is conceived at the vine, and their attention is directed toward ploughing the ground, output control, canopy management, manual grape harvesting and respect of the biotope. They use no artificial technology in their cellars, and each of their vats is linked to a particular soil and a particular vintage. They are members of the "Renaissance des Appellations", a group committed to respecting the soil.

Domaine de l'écu was founded by Guy Bossard, who has been ‘in harmony with Mother Nature’ his whole life, and who, since childhood, wanted to become a wine producer like his father, his Grandfather and previous generations of his family. When chemical fertilizers became a popular option for many wineries in the 1970’s, the Bossard family continued to rely on natural methods, working the soil and using organic compost (Guy made his own from algae, forest brush and basalt). When Guy returned from military service in 1972, he began preparing to apply for biodynamic certification, despite criticism and doubt from his neighbors and colleagues. The winery was by Demeter in 1988.

After meeting with Mark Angéli and other biodynamists, he began applying for Demeter certification for his production. His wines were certified biodynamic by Demeter in 1996.

Guy loves to show his visitors the different soils that he uses and the difference between soil that is "worked" and soil that is "chemically enhanced". His soil is pliable and smells good, the other "contains as much life as the Sahara Desert".

In 2010, Guy Bossard began looking for someone to take over the winery, and he found the right successor in Fred Niger, thanks to his long-standing passion for wine and dedication to maintaining the biodynamic traditions of the estate. Guys continued to work as a consultant with Fred until 2013, when he retired completely.

The domaine is located in the hamlet of Le Landreau in Sèvre et Maine, Muscadet's best region of production. They have 17 hectares (42 acres), with vines averaging 55 years old. They produce 3 different cuvees, each masterfully crafted to highlight the expression of the specific soil types. The wines are fermented "sur lie", on the yeast, to prevent oxidation and impart full flavor and a slight spritz to the finished product.

Reviews and News

Domaine de l'Ecu Wine Advocate Issue 215

Domaine de l'Ecu Wine Advocate Issue 215

wa300"If you doubt Muscadet can be serious, taste the Muscadets de terroir from the Domaine de l'Ecu – they are fabulous! Although I neither tasted the whole range nor older vintages, I am pretty sure these extremely pure and mineral wines can age for many years and will become even more complex at 5 or 10 years old.
Since his beginning in 1972, Guy Bossard has cultivated all his vineyards organically and, since 1998, is certified by Demeter with all his 22 hectares of vines. "I can only express the different soils of our vineyards when I work the soils," he says. As his successor, to whom he "will transfer the reigns slowly over several years," he chose Fred, a former information technologist who changed his life, but not his passion for great wines. As member of the group "Renaissance des Appellations," Guy and Fred aim "to restore the reputation of the vineyards of the Nantes region." "We produce dry white wines for keeping, which are at the same time crystal clear, of a great purity and impressed with an exacerbated minerality," they sum up their goals.
There are three Muscadets de terroir – Gneiss, Orthogneiss and Granite – and some other highly interesting Vins de France made in amphorae with varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and – Melon de Bourgogne.
Thanks to the Berlin-based importer Sébastien Visentin, I tasted some of the 2012s and 2013s in summer in Germany. 2013 was a very low production of around 13 hectoliters per hectare – "that's the main difference between the 2012/2013," I was told via mail. I also asked why there are several Vins de France, when you want to spread the world with true Muscadets? "I am proud to produce Muscadet but I am also very proud to produce Vin de France," Fred replied. "It would be a nonsense to ask for an AOC stamp, especially for wines vinified in amphoras." The Domaine owns 33 amphoras from 150, 300 to 450 liters. "It's difficult enough for us to get the agreement with the regular range (Gneiss, Orthogneiss, Granite), so I don't think they would taste and understand the spirit of the wines... Furthermore there is no red wines allowed in my AOC. I even vinified some orange wines now and some other free sulfites wines you didn't taste yet... A bit disturbing for the local area and the tasting panel, believe me..."
The total range of Domaine de l'Ecu is 13 bottles: five Muscadets and eight Vins de France. I'm deeply impressed by the wines I have had already and I am very much looking to visit the Domaine next year to see how Guy and Fred work, and how all of their wines taste – also when matured. - Stephan Reinhardt"
- Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate (Issue 215, October 2014)

Gallery

Producer Details
Founded
1970
Location
France
Wine Production Area
France - Loire Valley - Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur lie
Owners
Fred Niger
Winemaker
Fred Niger
Acreage
42 acres (17 hectares)
Grape Varietal(s)
Melon de Bourgogne
Agricultural Practices
biodynamic